Join us for MacMoves Week from October 2-6! Click here for the full events calendar.
Skip to McMaster Navigation Skip to Site Navigation Skip to main content
McMaster logo

McMaster Okanagan Office of Health & Well-being

Prioritizing Optimal Health & Well-being at McMaster

McMaster Commitments

Commitments to the Okanagan Charter have been made throughout many different facets of campus. These commitments will be highlighted here to showcase McMaster’s campus-wide desire to improve health & well-being.

The Canadian Health Promoting Campuses Network is guided by the Okanagan Charter: An International Charter for Health Promoting University and Colleges, which calls on post-secondary schools to embed health into all aspects of campus culture and to lead health promotion action and collaboration locally and globally .

Created in June 2015, the Charter provides institutions with a common language, principles, and framework to become health and well-being promoting campuses.

Expandable List

McMaster University recognizes that inclusion occurs when access to services, benefits, and opportunities is equitable, when systems and structures facilitate full participation by all community members, and when all individuals are treated equitably and fairly and are recognized for their contributions.

Forward with Integrity: The next phase highlights the need for a sustained focus on equity and diversity to address systemic inequalities and to promote and support equitable hiring, recruitment, and retention processes that reflect the diversity of our broader community.

  • Facility Services releases their annual sustainability report publicly, focusing on the areas of: energy, health & well-being, water, transportation, waste, experiential learning and green space.
  • The annual reports reflect Facility Services ongoing commitment to ensure the best decisions are being made for McMaster and the environment.

2021-2022 Annual Report

2022-2023 Annual Report: Coming Soon

Every year, McMaster proudly participates in Health & Safety Week, previously known as North American Occupational Safety & Health Week (NAOSH). EOHSS will be offering health and safety presentations, webinars and our annual BBQ and Vendor Fair throughout the week in recognition of Safety & Health

Daily News Article:


  • Developed in 2002 and is comprised of employee volunteers from various areas within the University. Our shared goal is to improve the health and well-being of employees through education, awareness and participation through health and wellness events offered to employees throughout the year.
  • The Committee recommends and promotes workplace wellness initiatives that are aligned with University Health and Wellness priorities for McMaster employees through education, awareness and participation.
  • The purpose to enhance and nurture the well-being of all employees at McMaster through the development of innovative programs. The goal of the Healthy Workplace Committee is to increase awareness of a comprehensive approach to workplace health at McMaster University that involves three elements of a healthy workplace:
    i. health and lifestyle practices;
    ii. workplace culture, and
    iii. a supportive environment

  • Recognizing the importance of nutrition, food security, and its environmental impact on the McMaster community, Hospitality Services has created its own document of the Okanagan Charter
  • The approach is organized around three pillars: Nutrition, Environment and Community
  • To read and learn more about Hospitality Services commitment to the Okanagan Charter, read their departmental document below

In October 2017, McMaster became the second Canadian University to join the international Age-Friendly University (AFU) network, a global body made up of higher education institutions that are committed to becoming more universally accessible. As a member of the network, McMaster is committed to working towards the 10 guiding principles of an age-friendly university.


  1. To encourage the participation of older adults in all the core activities of the university, including educational and research programs.
  2. To promote personal and career development in the second half of life and to support those who wish to pursue second careers.
  3. To recognize the range of educational needs of older adults.
  4. To promote intergenerational learning to facilitate the reciprocal sharing of expertise between learners of all ages.
  5. To widen access to online educational opportunities for older adults to ensure a diversity of routes to participation.
  6. To ensure that the university’s research agenda is informed by the needs of an aging society and to promote public discourse on how higher education can better respond to the varied interests and needs of older adults.
  7. To increase the understanding of students of the longevity dividend and the increasing complexity and richness that aging brings to our society.
  8. To enhance access for older adults to the university’s range of health and wellness programs and its arts and cultural activities.
  9. To engage actively with the university’s own retired community.
  10. To ensure regular dialogue with organizations representing the interests of the aging population.

For more information visit the McMaster Institute for Research on Aging

Age Friendly University Report 2019

For the Ages: How McMaster University is becoming Age-Friendly

The International Health Promoting Campuses Network is guided by the Okanagan Charter: An International Charter for Health Promoting University and Colleges, which calls on post-secondary schools to embed health into all aspects pf campus culture and to lead health promotion action and collaboration locally and globally.

Created in June 2015, the Charter provides institutions with a common language, principles, and framework to become health and well-being promoting campuses. Since 2017, McMaster University has been active in the Canadian Health Promoting Campuses Network.

On September 7, 2012, Suzanne Labarge announced a remarkable donation of $10M to McMaster University to support research in optimal aging, with a theme of “Mitigating Risk, Maximizing Resilience.”

The aim of the Labarge optimal Aging Initiative is to keep older adults healthy and active for as long as possible. Our initial research focus will be on maintaining mobility, slowing chronic disease and fighting deadly infections as well as developing a resource of information for aging Canadians with the McMaster Optimal Aging Portal.

• The ConnectME committee strives to unite McMaster employees and their families the change to grow their university network through the cultivation of innovative and exemplary programming and events. The ultimate goal of the committee is to build on campus partnerships to showcase the immense talent that exists within the community, including, but not limited to Hospitality Services and Athletics & Recreation. To connect regarding partnership opportunities, please contact


McMaster University is committed to building relationships and enhancing its engagement with local First Nations, Inuit and Métis communities, supporting and encouraging Indigenous students, staff and faculty members, promoting Indigenous education and the study of Indigenous knowledge and culture, and ensuring the participation of First Nations, Inuit and Métis representatives in the University’s decision – making process.

McMaster’s Indigenous Education Council is the primary body with responsibility for promoting and advocating for the advancement of Indigenous education at McMaster, championing the needs of Indigenous students, staff and faculty members, and providing advice and support to the University on all Indigenous matters.

The Indigenous Education Council will include representatives from the University’s senior administration to ensure a direct link to the governing bodies. In keeping with the Aboriginal Postsecondary Education and Training Policy Framework 2011 developed by the Ministry of Training, Colleges and Universities, the Indigenous Education Council shall “ensure that Aboriginal people are consistently and regularly engaged indecision making within the institution.”

In undertaking its mandate, the Indigenous Education Council shall foster understanding and respect of the local and Haudenosaunee cultural history of the development of the Indigenous student learning experience at McMaster and shall encourage positive,collaborative working relationships that respect and promote Indigenous academic leadership and expanded reputable scholarship in Indigenous Studies in order to promote the preservation of culture and address the outstanding knowledge gap about Indigenous peoples. These principles are in keeping with both Haudenosaunee ways of knowing, as exemplified by the Two-Row Wampum, and the President’s ‘Forward with Integrity’ initiative.

To learn more visit their website

  • Facility Services continues to make progress each year towards the waste reduction plan. This waste reduction plan is achieved through recycling, reuse and composting.
  • The objective of the plan is to develop ways to increase waste diversion rates and reduce cross-contamination between waste and recyclables.

The Health, Safety and Risk Management team has won Best Overall event for their North American Occupational Safety and Health (NAOSH) week of activities.

The awards program, run by the Canadian Society for Safety Engineering (CSSE), provides the opportunity to recognize and celebrate excellence in health and safety.


  • In 2018, McMaster introduced compost bins into several new buildings on campus. Prior to this, composting was mainly happening in the kitchens by Hospitality Services.
  • The objective is to increase the amount of organic waste that is being diverted from landfill.

• Identify and anticipate issues affecting equity-seeking communities within university and those seeking access to the university
• Committee advises the President of such issues
• Forum for discussion, reflection and learning on issues of inclusion, equity and community building
• Provide advice to the president on the planning and development of policies and programs related to “building an inclusive community with a shared purpose”

The Student Wellness Centre is the place on campus to address student wellness needs.

SWC provides:

  • Counselling – individual counselling, workshops, group psychotherapy
  • Medical Care – medical and naturopathic services
  • Wellness – health promotion, education, and training
The SWC team works to cultivate health and wellness by:
  1. Modelling a student centered, collaborative and integrated approach.
  2. Supporting a positive McMaster experience.
  3. Creating opportunities for students to realize their potential and find meaning in their University experience.
  4. Providing tools and resources that empower students to manage their own health and wellness.
  5. Promoting continuous learning to achieve team and individual success.
  6. Hiring, developing, and retaining a high performance team committed to building a diverse, collaborative, and inclusive culture that leverages employee strengths.

The Canadian Longitudinal Study on Aging (CLSA) is a large, national, long-term research platform that follows approximately 50,000 individuals who were between the ages of 45 and 85 when recruited, for at least 20 years. The CLSA collects information on the changing biological, medical, psychological, social, lifestyle and economic aspects of people’s lives. These factors will be studied to understand how, individually and in combination, they have an impact in both maintaining health and in the development of disease and disability as people age.

As a leader in evidence-informed research, we are committed to providing a healthy environment to live, learn, work and play. McMaster’s strong commitment to creating a healthier society has been shown by our signing of the Okanagan Charter. By adopting a tobacco and smoke-free campus, we are supporting this commitment and our strategic priorities.

McMaster’s Tobacco and Smoke-Free Campus eliminates the use of tobacco products and smoking such as cigarettes, cigars, cigarillos, mini-cigars, pipes, water pipes, hookah, shisha, and cannabis on any University property. It also includes the use of electronic smoking devices which create an aerosol or vapor, in any manner or in any form, or the use of any oral smoking device. This definition does not include emissions from University approved-for-use equipment, e.g. smoke machines, approved pyrotechnics.

McMaster recognizes the unique relationship that many Indigenous cultures have with traditional and sacred medicines such as tobacco, sweet grass, sage, and cedar, among others. As such, exemptions to this policy will be granted to McMaster University community members, upon request, for the burning of these medicines as part of Indigenous cultural and spiritual practices.

Exemptions will be granted under the Environmental and Occupational Health Support Services (EOHSS) ‘Procedure for Burning Sacred Medicines’. This exemption procedure will support a campus environment that is inclusive and welcoming while recognizing and respecting the health and safety of all members of the McMaster community.

The Tobacco and Smoke-Free Campus policy applies to all land boundaries owned, controlled and leased by McMaster University, inclusive of buildings, learning places, public places, and workplaces. Those who wish to smoke or use tobacco or oral smoking devices are asked to leave McMaster property.

For more information visit

One way to improve physical access to the university is to improve the walkability of the campus. A research study, led by the McMaster Institute for Research on Aging (MIRA), was conducted in the summer of 2018.

This study led to a series of findings that can be used to improve McMaster’s walkability of campus. These recommendations have been summarized into three main themes:

  • Navigation: A lack of signage on campus, including directional signs, maps, and easily readable building signs, was considered a primary concern for participants.
  • Safety: Some aspects of the campus’ physical infrastructure were noted as a potential hazard such as tripping hazards on certain pedestrian routes, lack of adequate lighting and ramps or accessible entrances to some buildings, and visual obstruction at crosswalks.
  • Creating a welcoming environment: McMaster was perceived as an attractive campus with many natural elements and points of interest that participants wanted to further explore. Results encourages McMaster to improve opportunities for public participation on campus and make it clear to visitors how to access various points of interest. Updates to the McMaster website on how to best access the main campus would encourage more older adults to participating in various activities.

McMaster University is working to improve campus walkability by taking the results of this study and using it to drive initiatives such as the recent installation of wayfinding signage and maps on campus.

To read the full report click here

McMaster is committed to creating a welcoming, inclusive, safe and healthy educational environment which supports personal and academic success. We achieve this through our four strategic themes: supporting mental health and wellness, preventing and responding to sexual violence, responsible drinking, and engaging with community.

  • Supporting Mental Health and Wellness
  • Preventing and Responding to Sexual Violence
  • Responsible Drinking
  • All events sanctioned by McMaster University during Welcome Week are alcohol free
  • Engaging with our Community

Related Activities & Responsibilities:

  • Ensure strategic themes are embodied in all welcome week programming
  • Offer programs specifically relating to strategic themes
  • Provide training to welcome week reps